China’s third nuclear reactor built for the export market, Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3, was connected to Pakistan’s grid in mid-October.
Chashma 3 is one of two Chinese-designed CNP-300 pressurized-water reactors being built on the site in Punjab Province. Unit 3 is expected to enter commercial operation at the end of 2016 and Unit 4 by next year.
In 2015, about 35.4% of Pakistan’s total 109.2 TWh of generation came from oil-fired power plants, 30.2% from hydro, and 28.6% from natural gas–fired plants. About 5% was generated by three nuclear reactors, two at Chashma and one at Karachi, while the remainder came from coal and non-hydro renewables. Because of its small oil reserves and insufficient natural gas production, the country’s planning commission wants to increase nuclear’s share.
China also built the 300-MW Chashma Unit 1 (completed in 2000) and the 300-MW Unit 2 (completed in 2011, and a November 2011 POWER Top Plant). Pakistan’s planned two-unit Karachi Coastal Power station will also likely be China’s first export of its new Hualong One unit, a third-generation reactor design that is being jointly developed by China General Nuclear (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC).
Construction of the first two Hualong One units is ongoing at CNNC’s Fuqing plant in Fujian Province (Figure 2), as well as at CGN’s Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi Province. Argentina in February 2015 also signed an agreement to build a Hualong One reactor as that country’s fifth nuclear unit.
—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)